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The Comprehensive Guide to Marketing Plans

Preparation is everything; if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Whether you’re planning to penetrate new markets or about to launch a marketing campaign, the steps you take ahead of time will determine your marketing success.

What is a marketing plan?

In simple terms, a marketing plan is a roadmap a company uses to organize, implement, and track its marketing strategy over a certain period. The plan can include different marketing strategies for different marketing teams, but all strategies work toward the same business goals.

A marketing plan is based on an organization’s overall marketing strategy and outlines the strategies the company will execute to reach its target market and generate leads. It explains the outreach and PR campaigns that will be carried out over a specific period and how the company will measure their effects. A typical marketing plan includes:

  • A description of the company’s current marketing position. It also includes market research to support entry into new markets and pricing decisions.
  • An overview of the company’s marketing and advertising goals and the demographics and geographic areas being targeted.
  • A timeline of when tasks in the marketing strategy will be completed.
  • The key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be tracked. The metrics will be used to measure the results of the marketing efforts.
  • The mediums to be used for marketing and advertising—internet, digital, radio, trade magazines—or the mix of platforms to be used for each campaign.

What is the role of a marketing plan in the marketing process?

Without question, effective marketing requires a plan—a marketing plan. While customers should always be the focus of any marketing plan, marketing doesn’t operate independently. It is one function in an organization, an organization that operates in a competitive market environment.

To ensure that marketing activities are effective, a marketing plan must take into account various factors. This is because it serves as a guide for all the marketing activities an organization undertakes. The marketing plan is important in the marketing process because it identifies the marketing objectives and analyzes how marketing activities will help a company achieve its wider goals and objectives.

A marketing campaign plan explains how the company will use the 4 Ps—product, promotion, place, and price—to achieve its objectives effectively in a competitive market environment. It also explains how the company’s resources will be used to reach target customers and drive them to act.

What’s the purpose of a marketing plan?

  1. The main purpose of a marketing plan is to describe how you’ll sell your products or services to customers. It defines the strategies a company will use to engage customers in order to achieve business objectives. No matter how great a product or service is, it’s not for everyone. A marketing plan focuses on the people who are most likely to buy a product or service.
  2. For some small companies, the marketing plan is usually created annually and for the whole business. In larger organizations, it’s created for a specific period and its focus may change from time to time, depending on business needs.
  3. A marketing plan identifies your potential customers, their behavior, where to find them, how to reach them, and how much they will pay for your product or service. It creates a foundation for your sales activities and marketing initiatives. It helps you to focus your efforts and avoid wasting resources.

What’s the importance of a marketing plan?

1. It provides focus

A marketing plan determines how the marketing strategy will be implemented. It shows that every process has been carefully thought through and will take you in a clear, predetermined direction. Some businesses are highly flexible and keep changing with the times. And while flexibility can be beneficial, it can also mean that most opportunities are never fully taken advantage of.

A marketing plan makes sure that all marketing activities align with business goals and that they don’t just follow the latest trends or the team leader’s latest idea. If a marketing team fails to execute specific marketing plans, most of the company’s visions will never see the light of day.

2. Helps you to manage time and resources effectively

Most businesses create marketing strategies but forget to create marketing plans. But a marketing plan is important because it allows a business to understand the resources needed and how they will be used.

And resources don’t always mean internal manpower. Some activities can be outsourced—like programming and social media marketing. A marketing plan can also help a business to understand the importance of a full-time marketing manager or marketing executive.

A marketing plan can also help a marketing team to manage its time well. It outlines a clear action plan and provides an activity schedule to avoid procrastination or unnecessary delays caused by tasks that aren’t in the plan.

3. Ensures Consistency

Most businesses don’t have a clear marketing plan. They market their products and services sporadically and only focus on one marketing activity when they need to boost sales. This activity may generate some new customers, causing the company to abandon its marketing efforts so as to focus on the customers.

Because the company lacks a marketing plan and dedicated resources, it halts its marketing activities as soon as it wins new customers. This results in peaks and troughs of sales activity. A marketing plan and dedicated resources allow you to market your business continuously and consistently. It creates a solid foundation on which you can grow your business.

What is marketing work management?

Marketing work management refers to the processes marketing teams use to screen projects, allocate resources, and ensure work is done accurately and on time.

Marketing plan outline: what does it involve?

A marketing plan outline lays out an organization’s strategy for promoting its products and services. It is extremely important for any company, especially one in a competitive market that strives to achieve a competitive advantage and boost sales.

Generally, an outline includes the following parts:

Mission statement: What the business would like to accomplish, and why.

Marketing strategy: How the marketing plan will support the business and help meet the company’s objectives.

Target audience: Who are the target customers the company is trying to reach, and how will it reach them?

Value proposition: What makes your business stand out?

Competitive analysis: Who are the direct competitors, and how does your business rank compared to them?

Pricing strategy: How are the products or services priced, and why does the company follow the specific pricing policy?

Advertising budget: How much money is the organization willing to spend on advertising, and why?

Required course of action: What actions should the firm follow to achieve its marketing goals?

Statistics: How is the company performing, and which areas need improvement?

Marketing plan template
Maximize the potential of your team by being an intuitive source of all relevant information.

Marketing plan steps: how to develop a marketing plan that actually works

A marketing plan is a great business tool for any company. When you’re looking for funding to expand your small business, the bank may ask for your marketing plan. If your company plans to enter and conquer new markets, a marketing plan will help you to understand how you’ll achieve that.

Marketing is what drives sales, and without sales, you won’t have the money to stay in business. But as important as marketing plans are, many organizations don’t devote enough resources and time to them. Great companies regularly develop their marketing strategies to plan for a successful future. And marketing strategies can’t be successful without marketing plans. Follow these marketing plan steps to create a great plan.

Market research: Research forms the foundation of your marketing plan. Identify customer buying habits, current trends, market size, and market growth.

Target audience: Identify the people who are most likely to buy your products or services. In addition, you should segment your target market into at least two categories. For example, a content agency can target both businesses and professionals.

Brand positioning: How do people see your brand? What is the conceptual place you want to own in the target consumer’s mind? Use gripping marketing messages that communicate how you’d like your brand to be perceived.

Competitive analysis: You can’t succeed in business unless you know your competitors and what makes your products different. What’s your competitor’s price point? What market segment do they target? When you know your competitors, you can position your business better and gain an edge.

Market strategy: What is your overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers? Study the marketplace and explain the specific tactics you’ll use to reach your audience-—events, social media, couponing, email, street teams, webinars, and other activities.

Budget: Create a schedule of how much money you’ll spend on marketing. Also, use metrics as a signal—stop a marketing strategy if it isn’t generating a good ROI.

Metrics: Use analytics tools to track your marketing campaigns and to find out the ROI of each campaign. Test marketing strategies for 30 to 60 days and assess the results. Repeat any strategies that deliver sales and get rid of those that don’t.

Why should your team have a marketing plan timeline?

  1. A timeline allows the marketing team to know the marketing milestones and what to focus on at each step.
  2. It allows you to plan ahead. Planning ahead can make the difference between a well-executed project and a poorly-executed one.
  3. A marketing timeline keeps all your marketing tasks on track. It shows each member of your marketing team what they need to do and when it is due. This results in fewer missed deadlines.

Can you create a marketing plan with Google Sheets?

Yes. If your marketing project doesn’t require heavy statistical analysis, you can use Google Sheets. However, if you need a lot of statistical analysis, use Kissflow Marketing Templates and customize them to fit your project.

Google Sheets is in the cloud, so many people can work on the same sheet simultaneously. Every change is saved automatically and is immediately available to all team members. However, you have to be online all the time.

What should a marketing plan calendar include?

A marketing calendar helps you to launch your marketing strategy so as to achieve your goals in a structured, thought-out manner—ensuring nothing is forgotten. It serves as a blueprint and states the messaging you will use and the channels you will use to distribute the message. It should include:

  1. Marketing goals
  2. The different marketing strategies to be used: public relations, email marketing, social media campaigns, or events
  3. The selling cycle
  4. Important dates
  5. How long marketing strategies will take to be executed

5 marketing plan mistakes—and how to avoid them

1. Relying too much on high-investment activities

Some businesses spend most of their marketing budget on ventures that look promising. But spending a lot of money on a couple of high-investment marketing options is usually a mistake. You’re forced to engage your audience through one channel–like advertising during a major sports event-—and have very little time to do so.

Instead of doing this, connect with potential customers at all stages of their buying journey. Use your company’s website, social media pages, blog, and paid advertising to engage with them. You will create more meaningful relationships. And if one channel fails, you can always switch to another.

2. Failing to have a solid marketing plan

A marketing plan should be like any other company document outlining policies and procedures. It should evolve as the company grows and its goals change. It should explain how the company’s mission statement and goals relate to marketing. Even the technologies that will be used for marketing should be mentioned in the marketing plan.

3. Copying the strategies of competitors

It can be very tempting to emulate the marketing strategies of competitors, especially those who are great at marketing. But it’s never a good idea. Yes, you can use other brands for inspiration, but if you want to maintain branding integrity, put your own spin on things.

4. Not testing and analyzing data

Marketing often feels like an art rather than a science because of all the activities involved. But at the end of the day, all that matters is data. You must be able to track and quantify the results of your marketing campaigns and use the information to make the necessary changes.

You can use a tool like Google Analytics to collect data on website traffic, bounce rates, time on page, and other metrics that measure the success of your campaigns. Social platforms also have analytics tools for marketers. In addition, create A/B tests and collect user feedback before launching marketing campaigns on a large scale.

5. Not targeting campaigns

No company targets the entire population, yours included. That’s why it’s so important to target your marketing campaigns and create content that’s relevant for all your target personas. Different demographics may respond better to certain types of content, engage with you on different social media platforms, and prioritize different things.

Use Kissflow Project for all your marketing needs

Kissflow Marketing Templates have been specifically designed to cater to every marketing need. You can use our templates to create A/B tests, content calendars, marketing plans, and even email marketing campaigns. Try one today.